No. 7 Georgia Bulldogs (11-2 SU, 7-6 ATS) vs. No.16 Nebraska Cornhuskers (10-3 SU, 6-6-1 ATS)
College Football Capitol One Bowl Preview
Date/Time: Tuesday January 1st, 2013. 1:00PM Eastern
Where: Florida Citrus Bowl Orlando, F.L.
by Jay, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: Ga -10/Neb +10
Over/Under Total: 59.5
The no. 7 Georgia Bulldogs were literally just one play away from playing for a National Championship but fell just short to Alabama in the SEC Championship 32-28. Instead of playing for a crystal ball, Mark Richt’s Bulldogs will now take their talents to South Florida to meet the no. 16 Nebraska Cornhuskers in the Capitol One Bowl. Nebraska also played for their conference crown but failed to show up resulting in a 70-31 route at the hands of Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship Game. The Cornhuskers now look for a little redemption as they get a chance to knock off one of the big boys from the SEC.
On paper, Nebraska has the slightly better defense giving up just 343 yards (22nd in FBS) compared to Georgia’s 351 yards (27th in FBS) per game. However, Nebraska’s defense played flat awful against Wisconsin giving up multiple big plays and a disturbing 539 yards on the ground. Now Coach Bo Pelini has the unfortunate task of trying to fix the defensive problems against a team that houses two of the best young running backs in the entire country.
Georgia tailbacks Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall, nicknamed ‘Gurshall’ for their Herschel Walker type numbers, have produced just less than 2,000 yards rushing with 24 combined touchdowns this season. Gurley leads the team with 1,260 yards and is a homerun threat each time he touches the ball. If Nebraska plays anything like they did against Wisconsin, these talented Georgia backs could run wild. However, Georgia also houses a very talented quarterback in junior Aaron Murray. Murray has completed 65.4% passing for 3,466 yards with 31 scores and 8 picks so far this year. Murray is a prototypical pocket style passer and can make all the throws on the field when given time to get the ball out. Therefore it is imperative that Nebraska’s defensive front plays well to not only get pressure on Murray but stifle the talented Georgia rushing attack.
On the other side of the ball, Nebraska owns one of the best rushing offenses in the country averaging 254 yards per game on the ground. QB Taylor Martinez is the ultimate dual threat behind center. Martinez has thrown for 2,667 yards with 21 scores and 10 picks while rushing for 973 yards with 10 additional touchdowns. Martinez and running back Ameer Abdullah have combined for more than 2,000 yards rushing this year. Often times Nebraska’s rushing ability opens the door for plays in the secondary once defenses lose focus. Martinez can hit those big throws down the field but does struggle with consistency when under pressure where it has been documented about his mechanics issues.
Georgia’s defensive front has not been very strong this year and they were dominated up front against Alabama in the SEC Title Game. More importantly Georgia was gashed up the middle against Alabama and they have given up big numbers against the run all season. On average, the Bulldogs give up 177 yards per game against the run which will be a big concern against a running threat like Nebraska. SEC teams in general have disappointed in some of these bowl games against middle ranked teams over the last few years. While Georgia appears to be the clear favorite in this game, Nebraska has the match-up skillset to contend in this game especially if Georgia lacks intensity on defense. I believe the early part of this game will set the tone so it will be critical that both Nebraska and Georgia come out firing.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Interestingly both teams have lost their last two postseason bowl appearances. However, that will obviously end for one team this year. I simply believe Georgia has too much talent that Nebraska can overcome. If the Bulldogs tailbacks run wild, this could turn into another blowout. Either way I will lay the points with Georgia. Take Georgia -10!
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